W. Wahli, Chief Scientific Officer Conducts research in the genetics and genomics of energy metabolism, lipid metabolism, and transcriptional control of metabolism at the Center for Integrative Genomics, University of Lausanne.
Founding Director of the Center for Integrative Genomics, University of Lausanne. (Biography: see above). W. Wahli’s research is centered on the transcription factors Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptors (PPARs) and the gene networks they control. These are intimately associated in the regulation of vital processes, such as metabolic pathways, response to food deprivation, and tissue repair. In addition, PPAR dysfunction has been implicated in the manifestation of many diseases, ranging from obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease to cancer. His present research activities concentrate on the unveiling of new functions of PPARs in both coordinating the roles of several organs in energy homeostasis and in tissue repair mechanisms, including cell survival, proliferation and migration. W. Wahli is a member of the National Research Centre Frontiers in Genetics, which promotes the study of gene expression, chromosome structure, and embryonic development.
Prof. Hon. R. DARIOLI
R. Darioli obtained his MD degree at Medical School in Lausanne and Zürich, Switzerland. He was fellow at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM-U 32), Unit of Nutrition and Atherosclerosis (Prof. J.-L. Beaumont and Prof. B. Jacotot), Paris, France and in the Division of Lipid Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine (Prof. Bilheimer, Prof H. Hobbs), Southwestern Medical Center, University of Texas, Dallas. From 1992 to 2008, he was associate Professor of internal medicine at the Medical Policlinic, University Hospital CHUV in Lausanne and head of the Lipid-Atherosclerosis Unit. Presently, he is Vice-President of the Swiss Society of Nutrition, member of the Committee of Swiss Atherosclerosis Society, member of the Federal Commission for Nutrition (Federal Office of Health) and President of the European Association for Health Promotion. His field of interest is epidemiology and clinical research on cardiovascular risk factors. R. Darioli is the author or co-author of more than 200 scientific publications.
Prof. B. THORENS, PhD
Conducts research in Type 2 diabetes, glucose metabolism, glucose transporters, hormone receptors, pancreatic ß cells, hypothalamus, and glucose sensing at the Centre for Integrative Genomics and the Institute of Physiology, University of Lausanne. B. Thorens received his PhD in Geneva in 1984 for studies on the biosynthesis of immunoglobulin by pre-B lymphocytes carried out in the laboratory of Pierre Vassalli. He then did a postdoctoral fellowship at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge with Harvey Lodish. In 1991 he received a Career Development Award (START fellowship) from the Swiss National Science Foundation to establish his research group at the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the University of Lausanne. In 1999 he was elected president of the newly created Interdisciplinary Department for the Study of Metabolism of the University of Lausanne. Since 2002 he has been Professor of Physiology at the University of Lausanne. He joined the Centre for Integrative Genomics in 2005. He is the coordinator of The Mouse Metabolic Evaluation Facility of the University of Lausanne. He was recently appointed President of the Steering Committee of the National Research Programme “Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine”.
B. Thorens’s research in centered on the preservation of a balance between nutrient intake and energy expenditure. Elucidating the formidable complexity of this homeostatic mechanism, which requires perfectly regulated interactions between several peripheral organs, endocrine tissues and the central nervous system, is the subject of major scientific developments. These will impinge upon our general comprehension of the integrated function of an organism but also improve our understanding of pathologies such as diabetes and obesity. More specifically, B. Thorens works on the elucidation of the mechanisms by which the organism detects the variations in internal energy stores, in particular glucose. The main questions he is addressing are: what is the cellular and molecular make-up of these sensors; what is their anatomical localization; what are the signals they generate to control glucose homeostasis, feeding and energy expenditure? A related focus of his research is to determine by which molecular mechanisms the insulin-secreting pancreatic ß cells regulate their total mass and differentiated function and how they adapt, or fail to do so, to metabolic challenges such as western type, high calorie-containing food or in face of targeted gene modifications. He is approaching these questions through the study of glucose transporters and hormone receptors, using mouse genetics, genomics and metabolic evaluation techniques. B. Thorens is author of more than 200 publications that have been cited more than 11,000 times (ISI Web of Knowledge).